Stephanie Martin Toe
Email | (410) 642-1195
Dentistry and patients with special healthcare needs
Dental care and dental treatment are paramount to health. However, the provision of routine dental care can become quite complicated for patients with medical comorbidities and special needs. The more complex the patient’s medical and behavioral history, the more this consideration grows.
The increasing prevalence of diagnoses of autism, as well as growing cases of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and chronic infectious diseases; has necessitated increased communication of dentists with physicians, as well as increased medical involvement by the dentist.
The aging population, and the growing number of patients with special needs (intellectual and developmental disabilities), contribute to the increased medical management of patients for dental care. Many medications for these diseases carry significant dental implications.
The role of dental professionals
Appropriate and routine oral and dental care contributes to improved health outcomes.
But, this care must be safe, and attentive to patients’ tolerance, as well as systemic health concerns. Such considerations include:
Patients may also require modified medication regimens. We'll discuss:
Additionally, we'll discuss the implications of certain conditions and medications on dental management and treatment, potential concerns and complications from these dental treatments, and methods to reduce these complications.
1) Critically assess a patient’s medical history and assess the need for further evaluation or information from the patient and/ or their medical team.
2) Describe the implication of several common medical diagnoses of special healthcare needs on patients’ physiology and function.
3) Discuss the oral and dental implications and effects of several common medical diagnoses and diagnoses of "special needs."
4) Discuss how to communicate with the patient, caregivers, and medical team to optimize dental care and management.
5) Recognize and avoid dental treatment complications by better understanding a patient’s behavioral tolerances and medical history.
6) Discuss methods to manage patients who have difficulty tolerating dental treatment.